'A great public servant': Baroness Shephard pays tribute to Dr Ian Gibson
- Credit: Archant 2013
The "unsung" work which former Norwich North MP Dr Ian Gibson did for organisations across Norfolk has been praised by one of his political opponents.
As Conservative MP for South West Norfolk, Baroness Shephard sat on the opposite side of the Houses of Parliament to the former Labour MP, who died on Friday.
But she said his death, at the age of 82, meant "a great public servant" had been lost and paid tribute to his "zest, application and humour".
Baroness Shephard, who represented South West Norfolk from 1987 to 2005, before becoming a peer, said: "Ian and I were obviously political opponents, but we found that many of our views coincided.
"Not least in the case of his support for modest organisations, in particularly those that supported cancer care.
"For years, he gave strong support to a small cancer charity set up in West Norfolk, which was run by Ian Sherwood in memory of his wife Michelle and which gave the money they raised to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.
"Ian frequently attended their annual meetings and supported them with advice and help.
"This work was unsung but was hugely appreciated and I imagine Ian would have given that sort of support to many other organisations across Norwich and Norfolk."
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Baroness Shephard said Dr Gibson was also a "hard working and dedicated chair of governors" of the then Sprowston High School, for part of the period her husband Tom was the headteacher.
She said: "He was an inspirational and inventive support to Tom and to the governors, teachers and students at the school."
Baroness Shephard added: "As a parliamentary colleague he was always challenging and always fun.
"Tom and I will greatly miss his zest, application and humour. We have lost a great public servant."
Dumfries-born Dr Gibson was MP for Norwich North from 1997 until his resignation in 2009.
He had worked at the University of East Anglia, where he was dean of biology.
During that period, he was head of a research team investigating cancer and was awarded a Champion Award by Macmillan Cancer Relief for his work supporting people with cancer.